beauty contest


: an assemblage of girls or women at which judges select the most beautiful

called also beauty pageant

: a contest or competitive situation that is likened to a traditional beauty contest especially in involving judgments made on the basis of physical attractiveness or popular appeal
… an elite automotive expo and beauty contest where cars of only the highest caliber …Hannah Elliott
US politics : a presidential primary election in which the popular vote does not determine the number of convention delegates a candidate receives
Mr. Ford and Mr. Reagan are listed in the Republican preferential primary or "beauty contest."Charles Mohr

Examples of beauty contest in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the 1850s, beauty contests were publicized by newspapers, according to historians. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 15 May 2024 There was tug of war and arm wrestling and, at least once, a beauty contest. J. David Goodman Desiree Rios, New York Times, 4 May 2024 Her desire to escape dismal Brooklyn, and especially her terrifying, mentally ill mother, Sarah, led her to enter a beauty contest that had been announced in her favorite magazine, Motion Picture. Stephanie Zacharek, TIME, 19 Apr. 2024 According to family lore, my mother had been a short, plain, serious girl who was outshone by her two tall, beautiful, glamorous sisters, both of whom won local beauty contests. Mary Gaitskill, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 But while most past beauty contests or even dual systems like the old Texas Two-Step usually had a similar set of candidates on each ballot, Trump and Haley not going head-to-head on any ballot in Nevada has made today's beauty contest distinctly ornamental. Geoffrey Skelley, ABC News, 5 Feb. 2024 Highlights include an agility course, on-site adoptions and a beauty contest with several hundred exotic cats from across the country. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Jan. 2024 But believe it or not there’s a festival devoted to Damascus goats, complete with a beauty contest to select the most attractive of these bizarre animals from around the Persian Gulf. Discover Magazine, 8 Jan. 2024 The pageant is watched every year by millions of people in France and is the oldest-running beauty contest in the country, according to the pageant’s website. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 19 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beauty contest.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of beauty contest was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near beauty contest

Cite this Entry

“Beauty contest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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